Other Free Encyclopedias » Online Encyclopedia » Encyclopedia - Featured Articles » Contributed Topics from P-T » Pendleton, Clarence M., Jr.(1930–1988) - Politician, Chronology

Career in Physical Education

pendleton urban league san

Pendleton became a swim coach at Howard like his father, thus fulfilling his lifelong dream. He was head coach of the swim team, winning championships ten of the eleven years he worked at Howard. In 1964 and 1965, he also coached the Egyptian swimming teams, which had also won national championships. Pendleton served as head coach of the basketball and rowing teams and as assistant football coach. During this time he married and eventually divorced. There were two children born from Pendleton’s first marriage.

In 1968, with two children to support from his previous marriage and earning only $7,500 per year at Howard, Pendleton jumped at the chance to become recreation coordinator for Baltimore’s Model City Program. In 1970 Pendleton married Margrit Krause. He became director of the Urban Affairs Department of the National Parks and Recreation Association (NPRA) in Baltimore in 1971. In this position, Pendleton advocated for creating new parks, for open spaces, and for making recreational activities available to everyone. While at the NPRA, he worked to convince the federal government of the need for year-round parks and recreation planning instead of the short-term summer programs for which the federal government traditionally planned. Pendleton also pushed with communities in Baltimore for increased community involvement in the establishment of community recreation programs.

In 1972, mayor Pete Wilson of San Diego, California, offered Pendleton the chance to direct the Model Cities Program. In this capacity, Pendleton served on the Community Education Advisory Council, at the U.S. Office of Education, and on the Governor’s Task Force on Affordable Housing for the State of California.

In 1975, Pendleton became president of the San Diego Urban League, a position he held until 1982. He pushed for increased real estate investments and economic development programs over the social programs traditionally supported by the Urban League. During his tenure at the Urban League, the league’s land holdings increased from $218,000 to $3 million. Pendleton spearheaded packaging loans for small business as well as managing and upgrading small apartment units. Hearing of black Marines’ subjection to Ku Klux Klan attacks at Camp Pendleton, he enlisted support for them. Another time, Pendleton stirred things up at the Urban League by arranging a $5 per plate soup and cornbread dinner for senior citizens as the annual Urban League fundraiser. However, Pendleton’s time at the Urban League was not entirely peaceful. He was accused of mismanaging league funds, but was eventually cleared of all charges.

At the Urban League Pendleton began to shift political beliefs. He served as the first president of the New Coalition for Economic and Social Change. The coalition was a black conservative group that had formed in San Francisco in 1980. Among the attendees were Henry Lucas Jr., Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas, Walter Williams, and Randolph Bromery. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss alternatives to affirmative action and welfare. The coalition worked with the Heritage Foundation, the president of the San Diego Local Development Corporation, and the chairman of the San Diego Transit Corporation. At this same time, Pendleton also served as president of the San Diego Coalition Dedicated to Economic and Environmental Development.

During Pendleton’s time with the San Diego coalition there was a lot of excitement in one black neighborhood about the construction of a veterans’ hospital. The hospital would have provided many jobs for the neighborhood; however, Pendleton supported the hospital being built at Balboa Park which was the location favored by his friend Edwin Meese III. The hospital was built in Balboa Park. It was a decision which came back to haunt Pendleton quickly.

By 1970, Pendleton had come to believe that money was the great equalizer and that if blacks earned more money and became more economically self-sufficient they would assume a greater role in society. The 1970s also saw a dramatic shift in Pendleton’s politics. Until this point Pendleton had been a liberal Democrat; however, he switched to the Independent Party and then the Republican Party. San Diego mayor Pete Wilson and Edwin Meese, a confidant of Ronald Reagan, who was governor of California at that time, were believed to have influenced Pendleton’s switch. At least part of the decision was made based on the fact that power and profit were more common in the Republican Party than in the Democratic Party. When Reagan ran for president, Pendleton was one of only 150 Urban League directors to endorse his candidacy.

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